New Zealand postpones the election after the increase in Covid-19 cases

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern decided on Monday to postpone the legislative elections scheduled for September by four weeks due to the return of the coronavirus pandemic in her archipelago. The country’s capital, Auckland, has been redefined until August 26.

While leading the vote, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday, August 17, that the postponement of elections in New Zealand, due to an increase in the case of Covid-19 in her territory. Originally scheduled for September 19, they will take place on October 17, as the country’s capital, Auckland, has been reconfigured until August 26.

The launch was a request from its coalition partners and the Conservative opposition, where all parties have suspended their campaigns due to the re-emergence of the virus, which last week suspended a remarkable series of 102 days without local pollution. But since the beginning of August, the country has had a resumption of pollution.

His government had been praised for its energetic and effective response when the pandemic appeared earlier this year. He again reacted strongly to the return of cases, especially very quickly ordered the containment of Auckland, the first city in the country.

The Labor leader acknowledged that the return of the epidemic had created anxiety and risked discouraging some voters from going to the polls, if the voting had taken place as planned on 19 September.

Jacinda Ardern, who was largely favored by pollsters, also acknowledged concerns from her rivals who believed the campaign’s shutdown would primarily benefit her party.

No other postponement

After a weekend of consultation with the labor force and the election commission, she chose a postponement until 17 October.

“This decision gives all parties time to campaign over the next nine weeks and gives the Nomination Committee enough time to ensure that an election can proceed,” said Jacinda Ardern.

She said that the launch meant that all parties would campaign under the same conditions and warned that there would be no other launch, regardless of the situation. “I have absolutely no intention of changing that,” she insisted.

Campaigns suspended, the country has 58 cases

All parties suspended the campaign last week due to restrictions ordered to address the new epidemic wave, the origin of which remains unknown.

The first four cases within the same family had been discovered at the beginning of the week. There were 58 confirmed cases on Monday, including five people who were hospitalized.

The archipelago chose the same strategy as it followed in the spring, by isolating the positive cases, massively testing the population and tracking the contacts between infected people.

“Common sense prevailed”

A darling of the international media, the leader, who has just turned 40, also has a record 60% popularity in her country, which is linked to her handling of the pandemic, but also to her response to attacks on two Christchurch mosques last year. or the recent volcanic eruption on White Island.

His Labor Party is even in a position to win the election on its own without the help of the Green Party and New Zealand’s Populists First (NZF) as he has been in coalition for almost three years.

The main opposition party, the National Party, estimated last week that it was now unthinkable to hold the legislative election on September 19 and asked for a postponement until next year, or at least until the end of November.

“Common sense prevailed,” explained NZF chief executive Winston Peters, who was facing major disappointment, according to polling institutes, if the polls had been held by September.

With AFP